Driving People to the Polls Helped Our Democracy

by Kenneth Payton

Driving people to the polls to vote was an awesome experience. Transporting and talking with people about the importance of voting was a good thing.

A few days before Election Day, several of us drove about 40-50 people to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to vote. On the day of the Election, we drove to all the shelters, picking up 2-3 people at a time, transporting another 35-40 people.

For one man, this was the first time he voted. The look on his face made me feel good about the work I had done and the time that I had spent bringing people to the polls. It was very important to me to try to bring as many people as I could to not only register, but also to vote. Taking these people to the polls was a great feeling!

At the Bishop Cosgrove Center, I picked up about five people, including a young lady and a young man. After we left the polling facility, they repeatedly thanked me. I told them, “No problem.”  The young man said to me, “Thank you again, because if you had not come, I would not have voted!”

I took a man who was living at The City Mission to his polling center on Lakeshore. Unfortunately, the man did not have the proper ID. I tried to tell the poll workers where the man was living and that we were at the right precinct for him to vote, but the staff said that without proper ID they could not help him. I turned the situation over to Brian Davis at NEOCH and he was able to take care of the problem.

There was one young man who was very memorable. This was his first time voting, and the look that he had on his face was so glad to see us. I told him that a lot of people fought for us to have the right to vote, so we also need to take the opportunity to vote.  When he asked me what I thought about the candidates, I told him it is time to pray. He laughed! That was a good day!

The Election Board staff was on point and always helpful. They answered questions, helped guide people through the steps to vote, and they also helped with directing the cars into and out of the parking lot for early voting. I was able to drop off and pick up with ease.

Other than the incident over the I.D., which was quickly resolved, and one issue with a rider, there were no problems in all of my travels.

In order to improve the voting process, I think that there could be more detailed, top to bottom job training for the poll workers on Election Day. This would allow various problems to be easily resolved when voters arrive at the polls.

Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle March 2017 Issue 24#1